An interview with Nick Leeson, the derivatives trader notorious for bankrupting Barings Bank
July 2, 2020
Nick Leeson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Leeson) was born in Watford, Hertfordshire and attended Parmiter's School in nearby Garston. Born to working-class parents on a council estate, his father was a self-employed plasterer, his mother a nurse. In this interview, Nick speaks with Doc and talks about his introduction to city life, before going east to Singapore where his final demise took place.
Exclusive interview by @DDS_DocHoliday
In the mid-1980s, Nick Leeson landed a job as a clerk with royal bank Coutts, followed by a string of positions with other banks, ending up at Barings, where he quickly made an impression and was promoted to the trading floor.
Before long, Nick was appointed the manager of a new operation in futures markets on the Singapore Monetary Exchange (SIMEX) and was soon making millions for Barings by betting on the future direction of the Nikkei Index. His bosses back in London, who viewed his large profits with glee, trusted the whizzkid. Leeson and his wife Lisa seemed to have everything: a salary of £50,000 with bonuses of up to £150,000, weekends in exotic places, a smart apartment, frequent parties and to top it all they seemed to be very much in love.
Barings wasn’t aware that it was exposed to any losses because Leeson claimed that he was executing purchase orders on behalf of a client. What the company did not realise, is that it was responsible for the 88888 error account where Leeson hid all of his losses. This account had been set up to cover up a mistake made by an inexperienced team member, which led to a loss of £20,000. Leeson now used this account to cover his own mounting losses.